Pvt. William Bridges

Co. D & B - 18th Regiment Illinois Infantry Volunteers

William Bridges, the son of Andrew Jackson and Patience Turpin Bridges, was born about 1832 in Alexander County, Illinois. He married Anna Susana Twente, born in Ohio, on June 24 1852 in Santa Fe, Alexander County, Illinois. She was the daughter of Eberhard Henry and Margarett Catharine Twente, both born in Ledde, Westfalen, Prussia, Germany. To this union were born three daughters: Permelia Ann, born April 8, 1853, Fredonia Josephine, born July 19, 1854 and Margaret A., born May 2, 1856. Anna Susana died on October 23, 1858.

When the Civil War started, William enlisted on June 13, 1861 in Anna, Illinois with the 18th Regiment Infantry Volunteers, Company D of the State of Illinois for a period of 3 years. Company D would later become the 18th Reorganized Infantry Company B. He served as a teamster.

At the time of his enlistment his stated age was 29 years. He was born in Thebes, Illinois. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, had a dark complexion, gray eyes, dark hair, and was by occupation a farmer.

He was engaged in the battles at Fort Donelson, Vicksburg and Shiloh. His name appears on a plaque in the Illinois Memorial at Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi.

He re-enlisted December 22, 1863, at Little Rock, Arkansas as a veteran volunteer under the provision of G.O. No. 191 series 1863 War Department. This was for another 3 years.

On December 16, 1865, the regiment he served in was mustered out at Pine Bluff, Arkansas. While enroute home with his company he was doing guard duty on the railroad cars at Cairo, Illinois. On December 29, 1865, he was accidentally knocked off the car and killed instantly. The remainder of the regiment went on to Springfield, Illinois (Camp Butler) and on December 31, 1865, thereafter, received payment and discharge. Captain Thomas Gage signed William’s discharge paper on January 3, 1866.

On February 20, 1866, Louis Twente, an uncle of the 3 minor children of William, was appointed their guardian. On March 27, 1866, he filed for benefits of the provision made by the act of congress, approved July 14, 1862, granting pensions to minor children under sixteen years of age of deceased officers and soldiers. This pension was apparently denied because the government thought the death occurred after William was discharged.

On October 18, 1875, John C. White, an attorney in Cairo, Illinois wrote to Captain Thomas Gage of Little Rock, Arkansas for a complete description of the accident.

Here is Thomas Gage’s description:

In the month of December 1865, I was Captain of Company “B” of the 18th Regiment of               Illinois Volunteer Infantry in the service of the United States of America, that on or about the 29th day of December 1865, he with his said Company ”B” were at Cairo, Illinois on their way to Springfield, Illinois to receive final discharge and that on or about said day, one William Bridges, a private in said company ”B” while on duty and under the orders of his officers was accidentally killed in the manner following to wit: He was placed on guard by order of Colonel I.C. Webber to prevent any except sick soldiers from entering the rear car while the train was being made up. He was placed on the platform of the car and the engineer ran the train against the car that said Bridges was on so hard that he lost his balance and fell between the cars and was instantly killed by one of the wheels running over his body.

Department of the Interior

Pension Office

Washington, D.C. January 11, 1876

Respectfully referred with the within papers so the Adjutant General USA for the purpose of ascertaining whether the enclosed testimony is sufficient to justify a change of record of said soldier showing death resulted in the service and line of duty.

This evidence did establish that death of Bridges occurred in the service and line of duty.

Each of the 3 children received their pension, due them, in one lump sum. My great-grandmother, Margaret A. Bridges, was living in Beech (Clarkton), Dunklin County, Missouri, at that time. She had married William James Eulitt on April 30, 1874.